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Issue No. 278 26 August 2005  
E D I T O R I A L

A Secret Country
Beyond the obvious shift in the Australian political landscape, we are currently witnessing major changes in our political culture – personified in the two Herald Sun journalists currently facing jail.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: On Holiday
Historian Richard White looks back on the Aussie vacation - and finds a way of life is under threat.,

Unions: One Day Longer
Nathan Brown travels to the Boeing picket line and find a group of workers with a steely determination to stick together.

Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Jim Marr plays the Howard Government's industrial relations spin job on its merits.

Politics: Spun Out
Canberra’s latest campaign underlines the need for controls over government advertising, according to Graeme Orr and Joo-Cheong Tham

Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
Evan Jones explains how the way we purchase alcolohol reflects the type of economy we live in.

History: Taking a Stand
Neale Towart looks at two books that chronicle how to build community support against social injustice.

International: The Split
Amanda Tattersal outsider's account of an insider's shake-out at the AFL-CIO Convention 2005

Legal: Pushing the Friendship
George Williams argues that the federal government’s constitutional powers are not sufficient to enact a comprehensive national industrial relations scheme

Poetry: Simple Subtractions
The latest blitz of taxpayer-funded advertising has revealed a crisis of arithmetic in government ranks has moved resident bard David Peetz to prose.

Review: Sydney Trashed
Sydney band SC Trash are on a mission to give new life to folk and country music – and the politics of common sense. Nathan Brown had a beer with them

N E W S

 Busted: Howard's 14 Percent Fudge

 Emperor Stripped on Wages

 Witch Hunt Targets Priest

 No Malice in Pregnancy Termination, Court

 Building Boss Risks Lives

 Cleric Preaches Murder

 Bus Rams Home IR Message

 Contractors Get Run Of “The Mill”

 BHP Mining Cheap Labour

 Toll Bells For Corrigan

 Lorikeet Folds Wings

 Safety Is Apples In Orange

 IR Ads Dubious

 Striking Tongans Serenade Princess

 Activist's What's On!

C O L U M N S

Parliament
The Westie Wing
Our favourite MP, Ian West, goes away for a couple of weeks and look what happens…

The Soapbox
The Last Weekend
Unions NSW secretary John Robertson's speech to the Last Weekend - how the Howard government laws will undermine the Ausrtalian way of life.

The Locker Room
A Concept Is Born
In which Phil Doyle helps the proponents of the vision thing across the road.

International
Workers Blood For Oil
A new book by Abdullah Muhsin and Alan Johnson lifts the lid on the bloody reality of US backed democracy for Iraq's trade unions

Postcard
London Post
During his recent stay in London IEU industrial officer John Shapiro was living only a few hundred metres from the site of one of the bomb blasts.

L E T T E R S
 Rodent Knows Best
 Godspeed LHMU
 Help Wanted
 Proof in the Pudding
 Safeguards Already There
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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News

Witch Hunt Targets Priest


The Howard Government's use of police and the criminal law to plug embarrassing leaks has moved into the industrial relations arena.

Australian Financial Review journalist Marcus Priest has been questioned by the Australian Federal Police over the source of a briefing from within the department of Workplace Relations, critical of the Minister's use of the building and construction code.

With two Herald Sun journalists, Gerard McManus and Michael Harvey, facing jail for refusing to name the source of information from the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Media Alliance has warned the use of AFP officers to chase down leaks from the public service had the potential to stifle public debate,

"This type of harassment of journalists is an improper application of the criminal law - it means that journalists are exposing themselves to police investigations for fulfilling their professional obligation to seek out and report on the truth," Alliance national secretary Chris Warren says.

Workers Online understands Priest, the AFR's legal affairs editor and former industrial reporter, was visited at his work and questioned by an AFP officer over the publication of a front page story citing internal advice to Workplace Relations Minister, Kevin Andrews, not to use his government's building code as a political tool.

Priest refused to comment on the matter.

The briefing, compiled by officers from the Department of Workplace and Employment Relations, cautioned the Minister against withholding government funds to building companies that refused to push AWAs on their workers.

It embarrassed the Minister because he has been aggressively using the code in exactly this way, in an attempt to push building companies to pick a fight with their workers.

The Priest investigation comes as the International Federation of Journalists weights into the intimidation of Australian journalists, saying it was becoming a global issue.

'With US reporter Judith Miller currently in jail for refusing to reveal her sources, this latest case shows that the fight for protection of sources is a global issue," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary.

"Journalists have an ethical obligation to protect their sources. Without this protection potential whistleblowers would not leak vital information in the public interest," said White.

"Some might argue that in special circumstances this right can be waived. But this isn't one of them. There is no threat to national security here, this is just a case of the Government trying to minimise its embarrassment."


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